Welcome to First Look Friday. This week on BikeRadar we’ve taken a deep dive into the world of gravel bikes with a full review of the RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR fork, the brand’s suspension fork designed to make your gravel bike perform even better off-road.
OWe also got some info on Fox’s new 32 Taper-Cast Gravel suspension fork with its 40mm of travel, which puts it head-to-head with the Rudy.
Additionally, we tested the latest Cannondale Topstone Carbon, which features revised geometry and a new Lefty Oliver fork. Additionally, there was news of 3T’s Exploro Ultra gravel bike which has been aerodynamically optimized for huge 61mm tires.
Meanwhile, Time released its first bike in years, and you guessed it, it was a gravel bike.
There were plenty of other product launches to get our teeth into this week. Crankbrothers has launched the new Highline 11 dropper post with its carbon post to help reduce weight, there’s a new line of MTB tires from Continental and Fox have updated their 36 fork chassis in a bid to shed some weight.
On top of that, there’s been tons of mountain biking and road tech news on the site to delve into this week.
If you prefer to relax and be entertained, be sure to check out the BikeRadar podcast, where we chronicle our best and worst rides.
And if you’re still not satisfied with this small batch, read on for a curated selection of the hottest new bike products coming to BikeRadar HQ this week.
Oakley Sutro Lite Sweep
If you watched the Tour of Flanders last weekend, you no doubt saw these extravagant Oakleys adorning the face of Mathieu van Der Poel as he claimed his second victory in Belgium’s biggest cycling race in three years.
Sutro Lite Sweep goggles are designed to deliver all-day comfort and performance, while making a bold statement. The sporty design is intended to provide optimized coverage, field of vision, retention and impact resistance.
The frames are made from Oakley’s O-Matter material and there are molded ear socks on the arms to keep them in place without causing discomfort. The non-slip nose should help here too.
The most important lens is Oakley’s Prizm, which the brand says improves color and contrast. This model features the Prizm Trail Torch lens, with 35% light transmission for medium to bright conditions, and is suitable for mountain biking as well as road use.
Select Sutro Lite Sweep models feature a vented lens for better airflow to prevent fogging. For those not a fan of bright colors, Oakley offers more traditional color options without the vented lenses.
Hope Tech 4 E4 Brake Lever
Hope’s new Tech 4 brake lever and E4 caliper landed with us recently and will soon be tested.
I can’t wait to see if the brand’s claims of a 30% potency boost hold up. You can find all the details about the new brakes in our feature, but here’s a quick rundown of the main details.
Hope says he upped the hydraulic ratio on the new brakes. There’s also a new lever design to increase mechanical power, as well as a new seal to reduce friction and provide a lighter lever feel.
Along with the roller bearing lever blade pivot, it all adds up to brakes that should provide significantly more power and modulation compared to the Tech 3 brake lever.
The lever design uses a hinged clamp to help save weight, and Hope redesigned the master cylinder to reduce its stack height.
Integration with shifters and dropper levers would be improved, with a 30-degree angle adjustment to fine-tune the setup.
The E4 cathe Lipers also saw an update, with hybrid-style stainless steel pistons and a phenolic insert. This is intended to minimize heat transfer and maintenance while improving piston movement in the caliper.
The new brakes come with a racing compound pad that needs little break-in time and should provide less brake fade than standard organic pads.
Syncros Boundary 1.0HS Digital Shock Pump
By updating its digital shock pump, Syncros has made the Boundary 1.0HS smaller and lighter than the previous version.
It still features the same 300 psi / 20 bar maximum pressure from its 11cc stroke volume from an aluminum alloy shaft.
The gauge and handle are made from a composite material to help reduce weight, and the gauge retains its angled design for easier reading when in use.
The pump is said to measure psi and bar with an accuracy of 0.1 psi, allowing you to fine tune your settings.
The screen also now has a protective screen to prevent it from being damaged in a bag or toolbox. Additionally, there is a large air release dial to allow for easy air pressure adjustments.
Spare Fillmore Valves
If you use a tubeless setup for your wheels and tires, you may be aware of how difficult it is to seat a tire, and the pain and extra time it can take to get the shell out of valve to ensure you have enough flow from the pump or container to pop the tire bead.
Reserve released the Fillmore Coreless Valves to essentially eliminate this problem. Using this new design, Reserve claims these valves have three times the airflow of a standard Presta valve, updating century-old technology.
Another advantage for tubeless riders is the absence of sealant blockages and the fact that you don’t have to remove the core to inject sealant through the valve.
The cap is an essential part for sealing the valve, and it also allows you to deflate the tire in a controlled manner by unscrewing the threads a turn or two and then pressing it down.
Anything that makes life easier with tubeless seems like a win in my book.